Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

Vagal nerve stimulation is a form of chronic intermittent electrical stimulation of the (usually) left vagus nerve. A vagal nerve stimulator is a device including a pulse generator and a lead, which delivers programmed pulses of electrical current. The device is implanted subcutaneously into the upper chest with electrodes attached to the vagal nerve in the neck. It has been used as an alternative, or (usually) as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy and/or brain surgery in the treatment of epilepsy. VNS has also been used for the treatment of depression.

Coverage decision: VNS is covered with conditions (Effective date: May 1, 2014).

  • Covered for the treatment of epilepsy.
  • Not covered for the treatment of depression.

Note: VNS may be used only for care of a condition accepted on the claim. Epilepsy is unlikely to be related to any occupational injury or disease and is therefore not expected to be an accepted condition on an L&I claim.

Authorization requirements

Is authorization required?

How do I get pre-authorization?


L&I (State fund): Request Utilization Review provided by Qualis

For self-insured: Contact the employer or its third party administrator


Regulatory authority and related information


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